Shooting of Rekia Boyd

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Shooting of Rekia Boyd
DateMarch 21, 2012 (2012-03-21)
LocationChicago, Illinois, US
ParticipantsDante Servin (Chicago Police Department (CPD) detective)
OutcomeNo indictment of Servin[1]
ChargesInvoluntary manslaughter
ConvictionsNot guilty

Rekia Boyd, a 22-year-old African-American woman, was fatally shot on March 21, 2012, in Chicago, Illinois, by Dante Servin, an off-duty Chicago police detective.[1]


Servin, an off-duty police officer, drove his car to Douglas Park on the West Side of Chicago after calling the police to make a noise complaint.[2] He then approached a group of four individuals who had been partying in the park[2][3] and had some form of verbal altercation with them.[2][3][4] Reports are unclear as to whether Servin was calm and polite or rude and aggressive. One of the victims, Antonio Cross, accused Servin of attempting to buy drugs from the group, to which Cross allegedly told Servin to get his "crackhead ass" out of there.[2]

Servin fired on the group, hitting Rekia Boyd in the head, and Antonio Cross in the hand. Initially the Chicago police department claimed that Servin had discharged his weapon after Cross had approached him with a gun.[5] The Boyd family quickly responded that the object was in fact a cell phone.[6] No weapon was ever recovered from the scene.[3][4]


In November 2013, Servin was charged with "involuntary" manslaughter,[7] but was cleared of all charges on April 20, 2015, by Judge Dennis J. Porter in a rare directed verdict.[8]

Porter's reasoning was that since the shooting was intentional, Servin could not be charged with recklessness. "It is intentional and the crime, if any there be, is first-degree murder," said Porter in his ruling.[9] Attorney Sam Adam, Jr., accused state prosecutor Anita Alvarez with deliberately undercharging Servin knowing that the charges would be dropped, in order to curry favor with the police department.[10]

Servin claimed he fired because someone in the group was holding a gun, but it was actually only a cellphone.[11] Witnesses said that Servin appeared drunk at the time of the incident.[12]

In November 2015, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police superintendent Garry McCarthy both suggested that Dante Servin should be fired by the Chicago Police Board.[13] The city paid $4.5 million to Boyd's family.

Servin resigned on May 17, 2016, two days before the departmental hearing which was to decide whether he should be fired.[14][15]


While there was some public protest of the ruling,[9] the community response was overall more muted compared to protests against the acquittals of other police officers involved in the deaths of African Americans, such as those who killed Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Freddie Gray. Some commentators [16] pointed to "the sexism of those ostensibly committed to black liberation" that "can leave us blind to the taste of brutality that black women are getting from the police."[17][18]

The Black Lives Matter movement has protested the deaths of black girls and women at the hands of police, including Boyd's.[19]


  1. ^ a b Tolentino, Jia (April 21, 2015). "Cop Who Killed Rekia Boyd Out of 'Fear' Found Not Guilty on All Counts". Jezebel. Retrieved April 28, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Sweeney, Annie. "Inside the failed prosecution of Chicago Detective Dante Servin". Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  3. ^ a b c Goldstein, Sasha (November 25, 2013). "Chicago cop charged with killing unarmed young woman during off-duty confrontation". NY Daily News. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b "'We just want to know what happened?' Distraught family sue after their daughter is shot in head by off-duty cop... and he was never charged". Daily Mail. 7 April 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  5. ^ Sobol, Rosemary (March 21, 2012). "Cops: Off-duty Chicago detective shoots couple". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Chicagoans Rally For Rekia Boyd, Woman Fatally Shot By Off-Duty Detective". Huffington Post. Mar 30, 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  7. ^ Goldstein, Sasha (November 28, 2013). "Chicago cop charged with killing unarmed young woman during off-duty confrontation". NY Daily News. Retrieved April 28, 2015.
  8. ^ The Associated Press (April 20, 2015). "Chicago Police Detective Cleared of Manslaughter in Shooting Death". NY Daily News. Retrieved April 28, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Cynic, Aaron (April 27, 2015). "Judge's Ruling in Rekia Boyd Case Sparks Outrage, Protests". Chicagoist via Retrieved April 25, 2015.
  10. ^ King, Shaun (April 24, 2015). "Smoking gun: Prosecutor Anita Alvarez deliberately undercharged officer who killed Rekia Boyd". Daily KOs. Retrieved April 25, 2015.
  11. ^ "Editorial: Rekia Boyd shooting was 'beyond reckless,' so cop got a pass". Chicago Tribune. 22 April 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  12. ^ Meyer, Erin (March 13, 2013). "Witness Says Cop Was Drunk When He Shot Unarmed Woman". DNAinfo. Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved April 28, 2015.
  13. ^ Hernandez, Jade (November 24, 2015). "Emanuel: Officer who fatally shot Rekia Boyd 'does not deserve to wear police star'". ABC 7 Chicago.
  14. ^ "Chicago officer who shot Rekia Boyd resigns". CNN. 18 May 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  15. ^ Sweeny, Annie (18 May 2016). "Police Detective Dante Servin resigns before possible firing over fatal shooting". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  16. ^ "For Rekia Boyd and all the overlooked black women victims of the police: Jarvis DeBerry". Retrieved 2016-07-13.
  17. ^ DeBerry, Jarvis (April 24, 2015). "For Rekia Boyd and all the overlooked black women victims of the police (Opinion piece)". Retrieved April 28, 2015.[unreliable source?]
  18. ^ Goh-Mah, Joy (August 2, 2013). "Why are black female victims seemingly invisible?". Telegraph. Retrieved April 28, 2015.
  19. ^ Mandaro, Laura; Guynn, Jessica (May 22, 2015). "Naked protesters gather in San Francisco for 'Black Lives Matter'". USA Today. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
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